Vacation to Gun Control…Conversation turns.

With the departure of the PCVL (Peace Corps Volunteer Leader aka PCV that works at the Meva continuing their work in their specialty but also assisting administratively and a position I reallyyy want next year…hint hint to the Peace Corps staff who might be reading this right now) in Fianar, English Club at the CEDII building has been taught by a different volunteer each week. Being so close to Fianar myself, I have not only attended some meetings and help teach, but lead one myself. My topic this past week, Vacations and Hobbies in the States. What makes this different from the English Clubs I have taught in Alakamisy is multiple things. For one, these students are University level and efa mahay Anglisy so sentence structure and vocabulary is very good, and rather than just teaching English words, it is a cross-cultural experience. The leading Peace Corps Volunteer discusses American fomba and what you can typically be found in the States. We talk at a normal speed, and that makes these students work to comprehend the conversation as it would be if they were to speak with an English speaker at an official or business function. Of course, if there are questions, they can stop and ask, but very little times has that actually occurred. Class is roughly two hours, and normally staying on topic is not hard to do. There is so much to discuss in such a short time.

However, go figure, my topic took a strange turn. It was like my language test all over again. I was discussing breaks in schools and what college students typically do, and the topic diverged towards American cities. It started with what US cities were the most ‘touristy’ and which ones should be visited. But then one of the students asked what were the most dangerous cities in the United States, in a way to ask which ones to avoid if they were ever to visit the States. Liz and I tried to explain that while there ones that statistically had more crime than others, typically, any large city can have a dangerous neighborhood. And then the rest is history…

[key: M=me, S=English Club student, L=Liz]

M:“For example, Los Angeles has the Comptons. You wouldn’t want to be there at night unless you were asking for trouble.”
S: “But, only at night?”
M: “It depends. Sometimes all the time. I’m a white, blonde girl. I wouldn’t want to be caught in the Comptons at any time of day unless I wanted….say my purse to be stolen.”
S: “How would they get your purse? By gunpoint?”
M: “Maybe. Gun. Knife. Physical force…”
S: “What does it take to have a gun in the States?”
L: “Well you need a special license and your gun has to be registered so if something should happen the police could trace the gun back to the owner.”
S: “Does a gun have to be registered?”
M: “Legally, yes.”
S: “But the Black Market. You can get just about anything: guns, drugs, even organs.”
L: “Correct, so anyone who knows a certain person can get a gun. But if they are caught by the police, they can get in serious trouble.”
S: “Well not for self-defense though right?”
M: “No even for self-defense. Police Officers are still investigated when they discharge their weapons in self defense. And those with unregistered guns who are defending themselves too can find themselves in serious trouble.”
And so on….until one student said the following statement towards the end of class.
S: “Oh okay. So essentially you’re saying stay away from big cities if you’re a tourist.”

Not quite sure how that could be the summary of the lesson, but I had to give the students props for not only understanding quite a complicated concept but following the conversation and continuing it. Official Tea and Talk clap to that. **Clap. Clap. Clap/clap/clap. Thank you**

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